Administrative

Education & Careers

“Show Me” Slackers

The average American worker only spends about six hours of an eight-hour workday, not including lunch, actually working, according to a new survey from Salary.com and AOL.
A&A

IASB and FASB Publish First Major Exposure Draft Standard

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), based in London, and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have announced publication of an Exposure Draft containing joint proposals to improve and align accounting for business combinations.

Lose Weight Build Wealth

Looking for a good reason to lose some weight?
Tax

Have a Home and Exchange It, Too

Many people are making significant gains in today’s hot real estate market. They are also creating significant tax burdens for themselves. Two popular methods for reducing or eliminating these tax burdens are Section 121, the Home Sale Exclusion, and Section 1031, Like Exchange break. Section 121 allows a taxpayer to exclude gains (up to $250,000 individual or $500,000 married couple) realized on the sale or exchange of property owned and used as the taxpayer’s principal residence for at least two of the five years prior to the sale or exchange.
Tax

FEMA Wants $27M Back from Floridians

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it has overpaid more than 6,000 Floridians whose homes were damaged by last summer's four hurricanes, and the agency wants more than $27 million back.FEMA is trying to recoup overpayments from 6,579 people who received federal aid after Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida last August and September. FEMA said it paid for items like generators and appliances that were later covered by property-insurance policies.
A&A

Not All Faxes Are Junk

In passing the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 on Wednesday, June 29, Congress acted to stop junk faxes without preventing small businesses from communicating with customers they have established relationships with.
Tax

AICPA Warns of Possible Pretexting Calls

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), recently alerted members that someone posing as an AICPA employee has been contacting accounting firms requesting employee lists for various purposes. Depending on the type of information being requested, this type of call may be pretexting and it is illegal.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines “pretexting” as the practice of getting personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters will use a variety of excuses in an attempt to gain personal information.

The Shareholder View of Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 and the scandals that precipitated it have had a profound effect on the accounting world. How have those effects been perceived outside the realm of accounting and what, if any, effect has SOX had on the average individual investor?Who is the average individual investor? According to the Voice of the American Shareholder survey conducted by Harris Interactive for BetterInvesting, they are 49.4 year-old married white men living in the South with less than $100,000 in investable assets but who consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable about investing.
A&A

AICPA Endorses Bill Extending Benefits to Small Business Employees

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has written Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) commending her introduction of S. 723, the SIMPLE Cafeteria Plan Act of 2005.

Fitch Issues Special Report on GASB 45

Fitch Ratings issued a Special Report, “The Not So Golden Years” on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. The report discusses the credit implications of GASB Statement No. 45, a public sector accounting standard for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) introduced to improve disclosure of employment costs incurred by state and local governments. OPEBs, which consist primarily of healthcare benefits, and pensions, are part of the total compensation packages offered by state and local government employers to attract and retain qualified employees.
Technology

Mark Your Calendar: AICPA Tech 2005

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Information Technology Conference is scheduled for June 26 – 29, 2005 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Attendees at the 25th Anniversary conference will gain insights needed to maximize technology value at the only conference geared exclusively to CPA technologists.A variety of sessions provide up-to-the-minute information and education about new products, solutions, practice management and leadership.

Polls Show Americans Pessimistic About Social Security

Two recent polls show the majority of Americans are worried about having enough money in retirement and are skeptical about President Bush's plan to restructure Social Security.Bush wants to create voluntary personal retirement accounts and says older Americans would not receive less retirement income under his plan. However, 56 percent of those polled by the Washington Post June 2 to 5 don't believe that, saying their retirement income would go down.A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted a week later found a similar result.
Education & Careers

Accounting Grads, Employers Get Creative

Recent surveys indicate that those graduating with degrees in accounting or finance have excellent prospects for finding their first job. Many graduates, and employers, appear to be having difficulty connecting with each other.
A&A

SEC Staff Report on SOX Section 401(c) Includes FASB Comments

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday released a staff Report and Recommendations Pursuant to Section 401(c) of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 On Arrangements with Off-Balance Sheet Implications, Special Purpose Entities and Transparency of Filings by Issuers. The report include several recommendations from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).“We provided input to and have discussed the content of the report with the SEC staff.
Tax

Land Conservation Easements Tax Breaks Being Investigated

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed at a heavily attended hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, that it has set up a team to gather information relating to the abuse of land conservation easements. The team will conduct investigations of large and small organizations promoting land conservation tax schemes. The most prominent organization under consideration is the Nature Conservancy. Senate staffers have been examining the Nature Conservancy’s land transactions and relationships with for-profit businesses since July 2003.
Practice Management

Office Costs Increasing

If you rent office space, you probably already know that office rent rates rose in 2004.
Technology

Avoiding Errors in Excel Spreadsheets

We trust our spreadsheets until they let us down. Then, we faithfully check all the values and formulas to find the error which is easier (or harder) to discover depending on the complexity of the spreadsheet, the importance of the information it contains, or how much time we don’t have to troubleshoot the problem. Undiscovered mistakes lurk in every spreadsheet. Cautionary tales about misadventures with Excel spreadsheets abound. Whether we find our errors using a computer-assisted audit tool or we check a spreadsheet line for line, we seek perfection.
A&A

2 New Low-Cost, High-End Linux Accounting Solutions

The availability of a single user and a two-user package of Appgen MyBooks Professional accounting and finance software was announced today by InsynQ, Inc. The low-cost entry-level packages run on the Linux-based Linspire operating system using click and run (CNR) technology.MyBooks Professional is a double-entry, fully audited accounting system. It conforms to GAAP standards and is modifiable and scalable.“MyBooks Professional for Linspire is a commercial application for the Linux desktop that meets demand in the business market for low-cost computing alternatives.
Community News

Firms Combine International Tax Services with Personal Attention

A new strategic alliance between New York City’s Marks Paneth & Shron LLP and Decosimo CPA Firms with offices in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio, will bring a new player to the global business marketplace. MP&S Decosimo Global will bring a full range of sophisticated international tax planning and consulting services to mid-sized, growing businesses that value the personal attention of senior accounting and consulting professionals.“Together, Marks Paneth & Shron and Decosimo CPA Firms can help more businesses maximize the rewards of going global,” David R.
A&A

Smaller Accounting Firms Reap Benefits from SOX

Many companies, both large and small, have complained that the tough accounting and corporate governance standards of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are far too costly.For mid-level and regional accounting firms, however, SOX has created an opportunity to provide tax services to corporations that need to divvy up work among various firms.

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